The History of ZION BALL
It seemed to me that the world of sports was drifting from the most essential elements of wholesome recreational activities, namely, camaraderie, teamwork, character building, athletic development, exercise and enjoyment. As a player, spectator, and life-long sports fan, I considered that a reformation would only bring change to peripheral aspects of the sports already in existence. Perhaps it was time for a revolution.
I began to ask questions. “What if we designed a new sport?” In his small bedroom, Shon began to draw. I dictated some ideas for this new sport, and before long, Shon had made a beautiful sketch of a triangular field, divided into three sections. We thought of a game that included three teams of three players each, hoping that a new format might diffuse the head to head competition that is characteristic of most traditional sports. We continued to draft the field layout and the rules with the simple goal of enhancing teamwork, wholesome recreation, and versatility. Gradually the sport evolved from a rough sketch into a physical reality. Shon and I bought PVC pipe, netting, rope, spray paint, a ball, and various other components to convert the dream into a reality.
After painting a field in a park nearby, and assembling the pyramidal goals, we developed the rules of play and scoring. We gave names to every particular aspect of the game, and then prepared it for a trial run. One Saturday, my Uncle Mike mowed a triangular section into a park lawn, and we set up the field and the goals. We invited the youth from the sports camps and several friends to test out the new sport. We hardly noticed the sweat as we played under the sweltering rays of the Arizona sun. Thus, ZION BALL was born.
How to play ZION BALL
At the beginning of the game, the referee blows the whistle shouts: “ZION BALL!” At least one of the three players from each of the three teams sprints from the crease, or home, toward the center circle, or navel, where the ball is placed. To begin, the players attempt to gain possession of the ball with their feet. Once the ball has been kicked, players may retrieve the ball with their hands inside of the center circle. If the ball exits the center circle on the ground, then play resumes with the feet.
The object of the game is to score on any portion of either of the two opposing goals, or berths. All play within any of the sections of the triangular field, or triads, is with the feet as soon as the ball touches the ground. Players may score with their feet, as long as the shot comes from anywhere inside the triangular playing field, and outside of the creases, or homes.
Players may also pass with their hands, as long as the pass is caught in the air, from within the center circle or over any line, whether it be the outline of the entire field or between triads. Once the ball touches the ground, play resumes with the feet. Players may not run with the ball in their hands, unless they are in the center circle, or navel. The center circle is the free zone.
When the ball crosses any sideline of the playing field, the first person to retrieve the ball may pick it up and throw it in to one of his teammates, unless the ball exits the buffer zone. In this case, the team in whose triad the ball exits the buffer zone starts with the ball from inside the crease, or home. When any team scores, in any portion of the goal, the team that was scored upon begins play from the crease. A game may include three periods, at the end of which time, the team with the most points wins. Otherwise, the first team to score nine points wins.
After each third goal, the teams rotate clockwise so as to defend the goal of the team to the left.
Depending on skills, hands or feet may be most effective for shooting. A player may shoot from anywhere within any of the triads or within the center circle, but not from outside the triangular playing field. When a goal is scored, and play resumes from the crease of the team that was scored upon, all players must begin play from within their own triad. As soon as the team that was scored upon puts the ball into play within their triad, the other players may advance.
Defenders may bat the ball down with their hands if a player from one of the other teams shoots toward the goal. Defenders may catch the ball if it is thrown over a line, any line (including the center circle line). Although there are no goalies, all three players from a team may defend their own goal, or berth.
The games are played simultaneously, and the top 9 teams advance to area 1, versefields 1, 2, and 3. The second place teams move to area 2, versefields 1, 2, and 3, and the third place teams move to area 3, versefields 1, 2, and 3.
Play resumes in each area. This time, the top 3 teams from each area move upward. That is to say, the 1st place teams from the area 1 play in area 1, versefield 1. The 2nd place teams from area 1 play in area 1, versefield 2, and the 3rd place teams play in area 1, versefield 3. The same pattern follows in area 2 and area 3.
Then, it is time for the pre-championship games. The top three teams from area 1 play for the pre-championship game in area 1, versefield 1. The top three teams from area 2 play for the second place in area 1, versefield 2, and the 3rd place teams play for the 3rd place championship in area 1, versefield 3. The winners from area 1,versefield 1 are arranged in order of score. This is the same for each of the remaining areas, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in their respective areas.
Since each team will play at least three games, the second and third place teams will simply play consolation games in areas 2, and 3, according to their performance. This means that even second place teams from the 1st, 2nd and 3 rd areas will play in area 2, and the 3rd place teams from each area will play in area 3. The winners from each consolation area in the 3rd game win the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place consolation games.
The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams from the consolation games will play each other to determine a consolation pre-champion. The consolation pre-champion may then play the regular tournament pre-champion, along with a third pre-championship team, to be determined by merit, according to the judges of the game.
The final game will take place between these three teams, of which the team with the highest score after three periods, or the first obtain nine points, is declared the winner. The winning team receives prizes, such as the coveted ZION BALL t-shirt and ZION BALL equipment to play their own games.